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      Interventions to improve the appropriate use of polypharmacy in older people: a Cochrane systematic review

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          Abstract

          Objective

          To summarise the findings of an updated Cochrane review of interventions aimed at improving the appropriate use of polypharmacy in older people.

          Design

          Cochrane systematic review. Multiple electronic databases were searched including MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (from inception to November 2013). Hand searching of references was also performed. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled clinical trials, controlled before-and-after studies and interrupted time series analyses reporting on interventions targeting appropriate polypharmacy in older people in any healthcare setting were included if they used a validated measure of prescribing appropriateness. Evidence quality was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool and GRADE (Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation).

          Setting

          All healthcare settings.

          Participants

          Older people (≥65 years) with ≥1 long-term condition who were receiving polypharmacy (≥4 regular medicines).

          Primary and secondary outcome measures

          Primary outcomes were the change in prevalence of appropriate polypharmacy and hospital admissions. Medication-related problems (eg, adverse drug reactions), medication adherence and quality of life were included as secondary outcomes.

          Results

          12 studies were included: 8 RCTs, 2 cluster RCTs and 2 controlled before-and-after studies. 1 study involved computerised decision support and 11 comprised pharmaceutical care approaches across various settings. Appropriateness was measured using validated tools, including the Medication Appropriateness Index, Beers’ criteria and Screening Tool of Older Person's Prescriptions (STOPP)/ Screening Tool to Alert doctors to Right Treatment (START). The interventions demonstrated a reduction in inappropriate prescribing. Evidence of effect on hospital admissions and medication-related problems was conflicting. No differences in health-related quality of life were reported.

          Conclusions

          The included interventions demonstrated improvements in appropriate polypharmacy based on reductions in inappropriate prescribing. However, it remains unclear if interventions resulted in clinically significant improvements (eg, in terms of hospital admissions). Future intervention studies would benefit from available guidance on intervention development, evaluation and reporting to facilitate replication in clinical practice.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Better reporting of interventions: template for intervention description and replication (TIDieR) checklist and guide.

          Without a complete published description of interventions, clinicians and patients cannot reliably implement interventions that are shown to be useful, and other researchers cannot replicate or build on research findings. The quality of description of interventions in publications, however, is remarkably poor. To improve the completeness of reporting, and ultimately the replicability, of interventions, an international group of experts and stakeholders developed the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist and guide. The process involved a literature review for relevant checklists and research, a Delphi survey of an international panel of experts to guide item selection, and a face to face panel meeting. The resultant 12 item TIDieR checklist (brief name, why, what (materials), what (procedure), who provided, how, where, when and how much, tailoring, modifications, how well (planned), how well (actual)) is an extension of the CONSORT 2010 statement (item 5) and the SPIRIT 2013 statement (item 11). While the emphasis of the checklist is on trials, the guidance is intended to apply across all evaluative study designs. This paper presents the TIDieR checklist and guide, with an explanation and elaboration for each item, and examples of good reporting. The TIDieR checklist and guide should improve the reporting of interventions and make it easier for authors to structure accounts of their interventions, reviewers and editors to assess the descriptions, and readers to use the information.
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            Appropriate prescribing in elderly people: how well can it be measured and optimised?

            Prescription of medicines is a fundamental component of the care of elderly people, and optimisation of drug prescribing for this group of patients has become an important public-health issue worldwide. Several characteristics of ageing and geriatric medicine affect medication prescribing for elderly people and render the selection of appropriate pharmacotherapy a challenging and complex process. In the first paper in this series we aim to define and categorise appropriate prescribing in elderly people, critically review the instruments that are available to measure it and discuss their predictive validity, critically review recent randomised controlled intervention studies that assessed the effect of optimisation strategies on the appropriateness of prescribing in elderly people, and suggest directions for future research and practice.
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              A method for assessing drug therapy appropriateness.

              This study evaluated the reliability of a new medication appropriateness index. Using the index, independent assessments were made of chronic medications taken by 10 ambulatory, elderly male patients by a clinical pharmacist and an internist-geriatrician. Their overall inter-rater agreement for medication appropriateness (ppos) was 0.88, and for medication inappropriateness (pneg) was 0.95; the overall kappa was 0.83. Their intra-rater agreement for ppos was 0.94 overall, for pneg was 0.98 overall while the overall kappa was 0.92. The chronic medications taken by 10 different ambulatory elderly male patients were independently evaluated by two different clinical pharmacists. Their overall inter-rater agreement for ppos was 0.76, and for pneg was 0.93, while the overall kappa was 0.59. This new index provides a reliable method to assess drug therapy appropriateness. Its use may be applicable as a quality of care outcome measure in health services research and in institutional quality assurance programs.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                bmjopen
                bmjopen
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                2044-6055
                2015
                9 December 2015
                : 5
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast , Belfast, UK
                [2 ]Belfast, UK
                [3 ]Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland , Auckland, New Zealand
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Professor Carmel M Hughes; c.hughes@ 123456qub.ac.uk

                JAC and CAC are joint first authors.

                Article
                bmjopen-2015-009235
                10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009235
                4679890
                26656020
                Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Product
                Categories
                Geriatric Medicine
                Research
                1506
                1698
                1704

                Medicine

                polypharmacy, aged, systematic review, interventions, geriatric medicine

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